Vietnam has been in talks with Iran over the seizure of a Vietnamese oil tanker off the Iranian coast, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has held talks with the Iranian embassy in Hanoi, and the Vietnamese embassy in Iran has held talks with the Iranian authorities to verify information and settle the incident to ensure safety and humane treatment for Vietnamese citizens," foreign ministry spokeswoman Pham Thu Hang said at a regular press briefing.

The Iranian military claimed on Wednesday that "recently" the US Navy tried to seize Iranian oil from a tanker in the Sea of Oman by pumping the cargo into another tanker and carrying it away. The military further claimed that its Revolutionary Guard navy used helicopters to land forces on the second tanker and directed it to Iranian waters, despite attempts by the US Navy to intervene.

The military also published videos showing Iranian helicopters and navy speed boats taking over an oil tanker and guiding it to Iranian waters.

The Pentagon on Wednesday rejected the claims and the elaborate scenario described by the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s state-controlled media.

"I've seen the Iranian claims, they are absolutely totally false and untrue ... it's a bogus claim," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

"The only seizing that was done was by Iran," Kirby said.

American officials said that in reality Iranian forces had seized a Vietnamese-flagged oil tanker last month, and US naval forces were just monitoring the situation.

While Iranian media identified the seized tanker as "SOTHYS" -- the name tanker tracking websites give for a Vietnam-flagged vessel -- state TV aired footage showing a red tanker surrounded by about 10 speedboats. It also included a recording of what TV said was the encounter between Iranian and US forces. The voices heard were an Iranian officer telling a US warship not to get close and an American voice replying that we are conducting normal operations in international waters. This sort of encounters happens routinely in the Persian Gulf region.

No incident of the US Navy trying to seize oil form a tanker in October and a confrontation between Iranian and American warships was reported earlier by the two sides or other regional countries.

Separately, American officials told Reuters that several drones, believed to be Iranian, had come close to the US Navy amphibious assault ship Essex in the Strait of Hormuz in the past 24 hours.

The Iranian claims and the drone activity coincided with the November 4 anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy and diplomats in Tehran in 1979, which lasted 444 days. Iran celebrates the anniversary as a symbol of opposition to the United States. Iranian state-controlled media all carried the IRGC’s triumphant claims of humiliating the US Navy.

With reporting by Reuters

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